If you are a content creator or a publisher, you cannot ignore the growing reach of YouTube. Google’s video platform has become one of the biggest worldwide, with the most popular YouTube channels having accumulated over 100 million subscribers.
With such a large reach, it is difficult for publishers to avoid YouTube. And video content is garnering eyeballs these days with people’s dwindling attention span. It is relatively easy to start a YouTube channel, but what is more difficult is to get subscribers and establish your position where the competition is absolutely cut-throat.
If you are a publisher, looking to grow their YouTube audience, here are 8 tips to do it the right way.
1. Content is King
Millions of videos already on YouTube cover almost every possible topic. Now, the differentiator for your videos has to be the content. Well researched in-depth content will not increase the shelf life of your video but also help reach a larger audience. These kinds of videos are time-consuming, but are completely worth the effort. Hence, before you hit the record button, dedicate a sizable amount of time in doing your research. See what is already out there and how you can bring a niche to the subject which may not have been covered that extensively before.
2. Optimize Content
Now that you have worked hard on creating good in-depth content, the next step is to optimize it. This is crucial as YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. People seek all kinds of answers. Therefore, optimizing your content becomes critical. Here are some of the ways in which you can do that.
- Optimize your keywords. Keywords are the words/phrases that users use to search on YouTube. Scan your content to identify some relevant keywords. Once done, use them in your title, description, and even in the video filename that you upload to YouTube. Optimizing keywords will increase your chance of getting ranked on YouTube.
- YouTube descriptions allow you to tell the audiences a bit more about your video content. Although the descriptions can be long, YouTube only displays the first two or three lines and the user has to click the more button to read further. Therefore, make sure the first few lines have the keywords and are catchy enough to make the users watch the video.
- Use catchy Thumbnails. A thumbnail is the first impression of your video. You should make it interesting. A good first impression can boost views and likes. Whereas, a bad first impression can get your video ignored, especially if you are making a video on a subject that has been covered before. A thumbnail usually acts as a preview image of your video. So, put in the effort for a custom thumbnail. Use bright attractive colors, use good images. You can add intriguing text to the thumbnail, which will provide the user more information than just the title of the video.
- Use Smart Titles. Just like thumbnails, video titles can make or break your click-through rates (CTR). Some ways to optimize your titles are use keywords first in the title, add numbers, use emotional terms like, OMG, wow. Avoid using clickbait titles as YouTube is not taking them well.
- Choose the best time to post. Always post your content when most of your audiences are likely to consume it. The jury is divided on what is the best time to post on YouTube. But a consensus on the Internet seems to indicate that 5 pm is an ideal time, and any video posted before 9 pm is likely to get noticed.
- Use Hashtags. Hashtags (used with the symbol #) help in the discoverability of your video. People also search using hashtags. You can use the hashtags with relevant keywords in your description and in your title.
- Making it Google search friendly. By using these above methods, you can optimize your video to make it Google search friendly.
3. Build A Community
After you’ve followed the steps above and published your video, it’s time to start building a community. Similar to how we put effort in our offline life to create meaningful connections, we have to do the same and more online. You can use YouTube tools to create a good, loyal community. These are subscribers who will engage with you and form a loyal base of fans for your channel. Here are some of the ways in which you can achieve this:
- Use the comments section of YouTube wisely. Reply to only meaningful comments. Try to reply to the comments within the first few hours of publishing the video. This will create a higher rate of engagement with your audience.
- Heart the comments. While a comment can be liked by everyone, it can be “Heart” by just the creator. Furthermore, when you heart a comment it sends a notification to the user. A good way to show that you care about what they comment.
- Use the pin comment feature of YouTube. Now, this feature can be used in many ways. First, you can pin an interesting comment to the top of the comments section. This will set the tone of the comments to follow. Second, you can pin your comment on the top by asking a question to start a discussion in the comments section. A pinned comment can also have the correct answer to a question you have asked in the video.
- Get your audience involved. Ask in your videos what kind of videos or content they would like to see next.
- Always ask the viewers to subscribe and click on the bell icon. This will notify them when a new video is published by you. Moreover, ask them to share the videos with their friends and on their social media.
- Reward your loyal fans. People who consistently watch your videos and comment on them become your loyal fans. You can reward them by creating exclusive unlisted videos for them or by live-streaming videos only for the fans.
4. Cross Promote Your Videos
Videos published on YouTube can be promoted on other social media apps. For example, you can provide a link to the video on Instagram stories. You can share the video on Facebook. One can also post small snippets of the video on other social media and websites to create some excitement about the video. Latest videos along with the links and descriptions can be shared via the newsletters too.
5. Have A Consistent Publishing Schedule
It is being reported that channels who post more than once per week are performing much better. Furthermore, be consistent with your publishing schedule. Have a fixed time and day of week when you will publish the video. This will also help your users in looking out for your videos.
6. Use YouTube Analytics
YouTube's analytics help you to take a closer look at the data. This aids you in improving your channel and to take the right kind of decisions while creating content. YouTube's analytics will help you identify trends for specific content, and help you know if shorter or longer form videos perform better. Audience analytics can also tell you things like what time of the day your viewers are on YouTube. You can also know whether they are new or returning fans, among many other things.
7. Collaborate With Other Creators
Research creators who are similar to you. You can then find a common topic and collaborate with them. Collaborating with your fellow creators helps both your channels gain subscribers. You can host a live stream together or create a video by collaborating.
8. Add Captions To Your videos
According to YouTube, videos with captions have higher watch time. Through YouTube’s caption editor, you can add captions to your videos. Adding captions will increase the reach of your videos. It will also help people who are hard of hearing, deaf or speak another language.
Growing a YouTube channel requires a lot of focus and dedication but the results are well worth it. These key steps should help you grow your YouTube channel to its fullest potential.